Rodriguez Jr., Mobilee’s master of eclecticism, has already received enough plaudits and praise to last a lifetime.
From his time as a mathematics student in his nascent rave days in the French city of Montepellier, to the itchy musical feet that would only grow as the years progressed, and his time as one-half of influential live act The Youngsters on Laurent Garnier’s FComs label, Rodriguez Jr. has always strived to push himself to the next level, creatively and technically.
With each release, you can simultaneously get the sense of an exquisitely talented artists who is grafting to get the most out of himself and his machines, while being astonished at the creativity and intricate sound design of his work to create stirring dancefloor-ready compositions that sound just as good at a club or festival, as they do through a pair of headphones during a home listening session.
With that, Rodriguez Jr. is set to release his latest EP, the generous four-tracker “Petropolis”. Here, we premiere the vintage Rodriguez Jr. sounding ‘Capitelle’. This one’s uplifting and melancholic in equal doses and is propelled by a muscular, compression-heavy bassline that builds towards a sublimely trippy crescendo.
Have a listen below, and get an idea as to Rodriguez Jr.’s production approach to “Petropolis” with our own exclusive interview with the man himself.
“Petropolis” is available 11 March on Mobilee Records
As we will be premiering a track off your upcoming EP ‘Petropolis’, I am curious: What was the very first element of this EP that occurred to you? Was it a particular melody? Or was it that you wanted to use a particular piece of gear? Was it a theme?
I’ve been experimenting quite a lot in the studio. Melodies and influences from Detroit or Berlin are sill here, but I’ve stripped down my arrangements in order to get more focus on the groove and emotion. The very first element that occurred to me here was probably a melody on the Moog or the 101. I eventually built up the whole arrangement around it, and ended up removing as many layers as I could. That’s not an easy exercise for me as I often tend to overload everything. When you only use a few selected sounds, everything has to be substantial, worthwhile and at its right place.
In reading through your background, pre-music, I see that you have a background in mathematics. I always thought that those with a more mathematical/analytical mind are best prepared for digital-style production. Do you agree? How would you say you incorporate a mathematical approach to your productions? (If you do, of course)
Oh man, this background is so far behind me! I can barely do a subtraction without my iPhone! My production is more of a try and fail process. I just try things until I feel like it works. I don’t have any logic nor production schedule when I hang out in the studio, and I guess my small musical background helps me much more than mathematics. I can’t play any classical stuff anymore, but it definitely helps in putting ideas together.
Speaking of gear, is there a particular piece in your studio that you always find yourself using? If I asked you that question 10 years ago, would you have the same answer?
I use to start each session with the combo Roland SH101, Roland Jupiter6 and MiniMoog Voyager – it’s like a palette: the raw aggressiveness of the 101, the creaminess of the Moog and the lightness of the Jupiter. They just work great together. My answer would have been almost the same 10 years ago as I actually bought most of my machines back in the 90s while they were still affordable on the second hand market… Apart of a couple of synthesizers, my computer and my mixer, I am still using the same hardware equipment than the one I used for recording The Youngsters’ albums back in 2000. Recently, I’ve also been hooked about this new modular madness. It brings a huge new spectrum of possibilities and creative freedom.
Word is, you also have a 3rd artist album on the horizon. What can we expect from that? Will ‘Petropolis’ appear there? How do you approach the construction of an LP vs. that of an EP?
I guess ‘Petropolis’ is a last sketch before I properly hit the studio – my two last EP might actually define the aesthetic and production process of my forthcoming material.
How is your summer shaping up? Do you see yourself doing any more DJ sets or will you be sticking to live performances?
Definitely sticking to live performances. This is how I began touring back in the late 90s so that’s kind of a natural process now, and I like the challenge of convincing a crowd with my own music. We are also working on a brand new set up for festivals, including customs structures, lights and visuals, all synchronized and trigged from audio events. So I can improvise as much as I like, depending of the feedback I receive from the crowd, and all the stuff follows my actions.